By OMER YUSUF | THE DAILY MEMPHIAN | July 2, 2021
[Pictured Above: Orange Mound Community]
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (The Daily Memphian) – A local organization committed to creating sustainability food hubs in economically distressed communities wants to open another location in Orange Mound.
The Memphis and Shelby County Board of Adjustment will consider the Original Project Team’s application July 28 for a new sustainability hub at 2854 Douglass Ave. The application includes a neighborhood food pantry and soup kitchen.
Other features described in the application are a semi-solar powered aquaponics community garden and intake center and a single-family living studio.
“As a part of the project, we also intend to partner with the local Orange Mound CDC and the Orange Mound Community Center and its teachers/administrators to embed gardening and healthy eating into classroom curriculum such as biology, life skills, health, etc.,” said Austin Avery, co-founder of the Original Project Team, in his application to the BOA.
The Original Project Team is expanding upon the Healthy Frayser sustainable food project it began two years ago. That initiative came together in collaboration with the American Heart Association (AHA).
Avery and his wife, Reesie Avery, came up with The Original Project Team. The organization opened its first site – the Morningside Sustainability Hub – in November 2019 and its Neighborhood Café location, 1640 Via Roma Drive, in November 2020. The locations are about a mile apart.
The goal of the food hubs is to address chronic health issues including hypertension, obesity and diabetes in underserved neighborhoods by giving families access to free weekly meals with fruits, vegetables and protein.
At the proposed Orange Mound location, the Original Project Team plans to provide lessons from the AHA’s “Healthy for Life” curriculum that offers youth-based lessons in nutrition and health.
“We are also prepared to coordinate cooking demonstrations (virtual; on-demand) to teach students how to prepare healthy produce,” the application states. “The goal of the program is to teach students how to grow healthy food and the importance of a healthy diet. Students can also volunteer at the Sustainability Hub and help grow food for local residents in need.”
The Board of Adjustment will consider the Original Project Team’s proposal 2 p.m. July 28 in the Memphis City Council chambers at City Hall.